Egalitarianism

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Egalitarianism

 

a petit bourgeois Utopian philosophy advocating universal leveling as the organizing principle of society.

In its earliest forms, in classical times and the Middle Ages, egalitarianism was associated with a demand for equal redistribution of the land. Under early capitalism two basic trends developed within egalitarianism. The first advocated equalization of the property of individual producers; the institution of private property was to be retained. The Jacobin dictatorship attempted to put into practice this ideal, which derived from the teachings of J.-J. Rousseau. The second trend in egalitarianism was associated with the earliest communist Utopian groups, such as the Babouvists; it advocated equal distribution of labor and goods on the basis of communal property.

K. Marx and F. Engels considered the principles of universal asceticism and crude leveling, which were characteristic of early communist literature, to be reactionary elements (see Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 455). The reactionary features of egalitarianism found particularly vivid expression in “barracks communism,” which reduced people’s capabilities and needs to one level. Under conditions in which the proletariat has not yet taken shape as a class, the advancement of the principle of egalitarianism against the exploiting classes is, as Engels said, “a necessary stage of transition” from plebeian and petit bourgeois revolutionism to proletarian revolutionism (ibid., vol. 7, p. 377). In modern times, however, egalitarianism is a reactionary principle that is in opposition to the revolutionary ideals and the principle of equality advanced by the working class.

E. G. PANFILOV

References in periodicals archive ?
notion of egality. Section II.C looks at the growing role of informal
However, it now seems that we need to move beyond a frame of reference which is concerned to define the "Maloh" as either egalitarian or stratified and begin to understand them as part of a wider system of relations with "others" and in relation to a spectrum of modes of social organization available in the Upper Kapuas region which range from Punan egality at one end to Malay hierarchy at the other.
What was also available to those "Maloh" who wished to replace hierarchy with egality or withdraw from hierarchy into egality was association and intermarriage with the encroaching Iban and the Kantu'.
These different ethnic groups followed very different models of social organization, which we can place on a continuum from egality to hierarchy, and with which the Embaloh and Taman were presumably very familiar.
There is, I think, something in this argument, and the debate between Derek Freeman and Jerome Rousseau on Iban egality and hierarchy immediately comes to mind as a parallel (Freeman 1981, Sather 1996).